You’ve updated your resume, wrote the perfect cover letter, possess all the skills and requirements, and nailed the interview. But you never hear back. This is a frustratingly common occurrence for many job seekers. It is difficult to deal with continued rejection and it is difficult to not take it personally. This can be particularly difficult for veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce.
One of the biggest mistakes many during the job search is trying to read too much meaning into the results of your job applications. The hiring process often neglects to inform candidates the result of the application/interview if they were not hired. This leaves things open and can cause job seekers to make negative assumptions about themselves.
Many view hiring like a test-you pass or fail. This is not necessarily the case. Maybe the hiring manager liked you and you had the required qualifications but a stronger candidate applied. No matter how qualified you might be there is always the possibility someone else is even more qualified. If that person hadn’t applied, you might have gotten the job. It is impossible to know what goes on behind closed doors of HR.
Hiring is not always merit-based. In some instances, jobs go to the CEO’s cousin or to an internal candidate who has to be promoted for political reasons. But there are other ways that plays out, too — like when the candidate who’s strongest on paper gets passed over for a slightly less strong candidate who will get along better with a difficult stakeholder or a demanding boss.
It’s also always possible that an employer is looking for a qualification that you didn’t know about — sometimes because they didn’t realize they wanted it until they saw it in someone else like fluency in a foreign language or some transferable skills that will work for the position.
Things can also change during a hiring process. Maybe you perfectly matched the qualifications they advertised for, but since then they’ve learned their Excel expert is leaving and now, they’re looking for someone who can fill that gap, too. Other things can change as well, like budgets (which can change the level they’re hiring for), managers (a new manager might have different ideas about the role), and projects (new or canceled projects can change what’s prioritized in a new hire).
The interview can reveal ways in which you’re not quite the right match, despite your qualifications. Maybe you’re soft spoken and they’re looking for someone more assertive. Maybe you have great experience organizing high-profile, big budget events, but they need someone who can work with smaller budgets. Sometimes this type of rejection is even in your best interest. For example, if you talked in the interview about wanting a lot of independence and autonomy and the manager for the role is a notorious micromanager, it’s smart for them screen you out — and that would be a bullet dodged for you.
More often than not, it is about your qualifications. Maybe you’re applying for jobs that you’re not qualified enough for. Although it’s also worth checking in on your interview skills and making sure those aren’t doing you any disservice. Make sure to practice interview questions and make sure your resume is updated with your experience and qualifications.
Since employers get more qualified candidates than they can hire, very often rejection isn’t a measure of your worth at all. Stay positive and don’t get discouraged!
Source: The Cut